Jonathan Caverly and Ethan Kapstein maintained that the United States’ domination of the global arms market is disappearing and that as a consequence, Washington is squandering an array of economic and political benefits. Critics dispute the point; Caverley and Kapstein respond.
For two decades, the United States has dominated the global arms trade, reaping a broad range of economic and geopolitical benefits in the process. But shortsighted decisions to produce expensive, cutting-edge weapons systems, rather than cheaper, more practical ones, are squandering this monopoly and letting other countries get into the market.
Recent incidents of international adoptions gone awry are another sign that the world's governments -- most especially, the United States -- must redouble their efforts to regulate and enforce the movement of children across the globe.
Many economies in Africa have remained largely sheltered from the global financial crisis. To keep economic development there on track, the West must avoid protectionist impulses.
Kapstein and Converse argue that democratic transitions are more likely to last if the government provides institutional checks on the power of the executive, creating credible and legitimate public authority.
Most people think of slavery as a purely historical phenomenon. In fact, the practice thrives around the world today. The same factors that contribute to economic globalization have given rise to a booming international traffic in human beings, often with the connivance of national governments. Fighting this scourge successfully will take more than another UN treaty: Western nations must use their military might.
In "Economic Justice in an Unfair World", Ethan Kapstein sets out admirably to define a global system that would guarantee opportunity for all states. But on the key issue -- free trade -- he subverts his own efforts by clinging to simplistic neoliberal dogma.
Kapstein's postscript to his November/December 2003 essay "The Baby Trade "
The international adoption trade is booming, as more families in the West adopt more babies from developing countries. But it has spawned a sordid black market as well, in which children are bought or abducted and sold. The best way to stop the trafficking is not to ban adoptions from countries that tolerate corrupt rings, but to strengthen the underdeveloped multilateral legal regime that regulates adoptions around the planet.
Nongovernmental organizations, activist shareholders, and "socially responsible" investment funds have launched a corporate ethics crusade that has pushed executives to consider more than just the bottom line. Goaded by media interest, however, NGOs prefer to shout solutions rather than engage in objective research. Worse, the symbiotic relationship they are forging with firms could backfire and harm the world's poor.
Yes, workers are hurting, as Ethan B. Kapstein has observed, but New Deal spending today would only spark inflation, argue economists Paul Krugman and Robert Z. Lawrence. Thomas Donahue applauds Kapstein's compassion, and Hilary Barnes and Steve Forbes caution against excessive social welfare. Kapstein replies.
Not everyone is a winner in the global economy. Unemployment is high in Europe and inequality is rising in the United States as growth proves disappointing and foreign competition drives wages down. While economists debate causes and officials fret over inflation, protectionism threatens world trade. Postwar policymakers, learning from the upheaval of the 1930s, struck a deal with workers. Bretton Woods and Dumbarton Oaks would foster global commerce, and the International Monetary Fund and domestic public policy would make sure that everyone gained. Stagflation in the 1970s undermined this social contract. Policymakers today must abandon their fiscal stringency, or more unpleasant leaders may rise.
The peso may collapse and Barings fail, but financial markets sail along, confirming the success of international regulatory efforts begun in the 1970s.
Soaring production costs and sinking defense budgets are killing off competing arms-makers. America must use its arms monopoly for the good of global security.